Seasonal Labor Strategies During Peak Season

With one of the tightest labor markets on record it’s not surprising that many HR departments are struggling in the areas of hiring and retention. And while hiring and retention have always been a challenge, the impact of eCommerce is raising the stakes to a whole new level – if your company has adopted a direct to consumer (D2C) eCommerce channel – the time window for fulfilling the majority of your orders during peak season has shrunk, in many cases, from months to weeks.

In this article we’ll be focusing on a few key areas of a successful hiring and retention strategy, with specific attention to eCommerce fulfillment during peak season(s). While all these strategies have merit, it can be helpful to review these ideas based on their ability to support and improve your own company culture.

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Amazon and Beyond: Creating a Multichannel Strategy

Today let’s start off with what may be an uncomfortable question. How flexible is your long-term eCommerce strategy? In other words, have you created a system that is designed to adapt easily to an online multichannel marketplace where change is relentless, and the future can be unforgiving to those that fail to adjust quickly and efficiently? If you’re not sure, now is the time to take a quick inventory of areas to keep on your radar as you move forward, in addition, we’ll provide an opportunity for you to explore these subjects in greater detail.

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Understanding the Opportunity and Challenges of eCommerce for the Mid-Market Company

With a current market size of $514 billion and an anticipated CAGR of 7.8 percent, U.S. eCommerce revenues are anticipated to exceed $740 billion by 2023. Given the size and growth of eCommerce, it’s no longer a question of whether your company will be selling products online. Instead, given how vital eCommerce is becoming to your company’s success, how will you manage your eCommerce business today and in the future? Specifically, how will you create a fulfillment system that minimizes your costs, meets your customer’s expectations, and easily scales to meet the needs of your growing eCommerce business?

 

Even companies with large warehouse operations need to take a close look at their current fulfillment model -- designed to manage and move products in bulk – and ask themselves if they have the warehouse space, technology, and labor to create an efficient, cost-effective eCommerce fulfillment solution that stores, picks, consolidates, and ships smaller, more frequent orders, quickly and accurately?

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Supply Chain Efficiency vs. Responsiveness

Efficiency isn’t just a business buzzword.Efficient production means making products without wasting materials, natural resources or man hours. Efficient facility management means running your business while reducing your energy costs and minimizing its carbon footprint. Efficient advertising means targeted ad campaigns that make the very most of your marketing dollars.


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Expand Your Warehouse versus Outsource Your Fulfillment Needs

It’s no secret that managing warehousing expenses has always been tricky for COOs and supply chain managers. What happens when your warehouse is reaching capacity? Do you build, relocate or outsource your fulfillment needs?

Space doesn't come cheap and can't easily be expanded in small increments. When a company decides to build new warehouse, it typically must build more than it presently needs. In the near-term, much of the new capacity will probably sit empty. On the other hand, space limitations will cap your company's potential revenue or potentially create safety issues for your associates. In both instances, something must change.

How do you strike a balance between current warehousing needs, anticipated future warehousing needs and justifying the projected budget? If you’re looking to expand, follow these steps to determine if it’s time to outsource your fulfillment needs.

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4th Quarter Customer Repution Killers in E-Commerce Fulfillment

 

As the weather shifts into cooler temperatures, you can almost hear the stampede of holiday customers waiting to test the mettle of your supply chain. Your e-commerce vendors—and, subsequently, your vendor management practices—are your first line of defense against the three great customer reputation-killers as the holidays loom. Improve your fulfillment efficiency by ironing out wrinkles and close loopholes to avoid unpleasant surprises in the middle of what is likely one of your busiest periods. Maintain your reputation with customers by avoiding these three missteps.

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Are You Lacking a Goal-Oriented Supply Chain Strategy?

A goal-oriented supply chain is a focused series of connected modules - raw materials to components, components to manufacturing and so on. When the initial approach amounts to what is essentially a collection of moving parts, it seems reasonable to apply solutions the same way: piecemeal. However well this may work for each individual module, that success is at the cost of a greater supply chain strategy - one that embraces a top-down approach and encourages that all-important trait of transparency. Considering today's increased demand for transparency from both the consumer side and that of your trading partners, it's not a facet your company can afford to let slip. 

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Order Fulfillment KPIs You Can't Afford to Overlook

 

Four Areas to Evaluate for the Best Supply Chain KPIs

It can be tempting to set a static goal and measure daily progress against it; however, in a climate that can change direction in a moment, your business practices can become outdated quickly. Warehouse key performance indicators (KPIs) are the best tools to guide actionable measures in afulfillment center. KPIs reflect the state of your efficiency on multiple levels.

 

Do you have the best supply chain KPIs for the job? The following four areas will help you start.

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Advanced Automation is the Key to Optimizing Your Supply Chain

Businesses which fall into the trap of putting too much focus on manufacturing and inventory costs are being held back from their full potential as they fail to acknowledge the inefficiencies arising through weak links in the supply chain.

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3 Benchmark Logistics KPIs that are Easy to Achieve

 

Measurements — determining them, changing them, inferring from them — are a backbone of every industry. Whether the measure of success is something as simple as profit, or as complex as reducing the amount of time a product spends during its travels in the supply chain, having the right "ruler" is absolutely crucial. If you're using the wrong logistics KPIs, or endlessly tracking them for a future purpose that never manifests, you're not only wasting company resources — you're paying out an opportunity cost that could actually make a difference in your goal progression. In only three steps, you can clean up your approach to KPIs and maximize the value obtained from each one.

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3 Easy Steps to Benchmark Logistics KPIs

Measurements — determining them, changing them, inferring from them — are a backbone of every industry. Whether the measure of success is something as simple as profit, or as complex as reducing the amount of time a product spends during its travels in the supply chain, having the right "ruler" is absolutely crucial. If you're using the wrong logistics KPIs, or endlessly tracking them for a future purpose that never manifests, you're not only wasting company resources — you're paying out an opportunity cost that could actually make a difference in your goal progression. In only three steps, you can clean up your approach to KPIs and maximize the value obtained from each one.

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Supply Chain Performance Metrics Can Dictate the Path of Your Business

The flowchart is a time-honored tool of decision making, a simplified blueprint for what to do if a situation matches certain parameters. It's also a vastly underutilized technique in logistics and supply chain performance decisions, likely due to the complexities of the chain falling short of the simplicity needed for such a chart. The quick decisions and experience-fueled moves that run a fulfillment center can't be codified as A or B choices — or can they?

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Look Beyond KPIs to Analyze Where Your Supply Chain Is Failing

Think, for a moment, of your supply chain as you would a balanced diet. Even if you’re carefully measuring your caloric intake, it doesn't necessarily mean that you’re eating well! The same can be said for operational measurement and supply chain analytics. They're helpful, but only as part of a broader approach that considers every angle, not just those derived from data. With much industry emphasis placed on supply chain KPIs, it's easy to hone in on them and miss the supply chain forest for the trees.

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3 Logistics KPIs That Support Supply Chain Growth

Businesses grow. Brands grow. Workforces grow. What about fulfillment centers? With the day-to-day focus resting heavily on supply chain performance metrics, sometimes growth isn't even on the radar for management teams — who often pour all of their effort into maintaining the status quo. However, just like the non-fulfillment aspects of business, the greater goal should always be expansion. For some companies, that means geography, for others, sku volume. However your fulfillment center defines growth, you'll need a strategy to hit your milestones, and it needs to incorporate three strong pillars for the best results: visibility, agility and connections — both internal and external to your company.

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A Best in Class Logistics Operation Requires Best in Class KPIs

As the most nimble of moving targets in the warehouse, your supply chain performance measurements may fundamentally differ from day to day, depending on which facets need work. Factors — both inside and outside — the warehouse walls play a professional tug of war with your goals and intentions, requiring constant adjustment just to maintain the status quo. Few logistics professionals have time — from scratch, anyway —  for that constant recalibration, which is why KPIs are so important.

Imagine if every decision that needed to be made at a fulfillment center had a barometer: if the number was too high, one action was taken; if it was too low, another action was called for. Can complex business drivers really be simplified to chart-checking like this? If you're following the right KPIs, they absolutely can. Beyond the numbers, however, the attitudes and practices in your workplace determine how useful those KPIs can be.

There are a few techniques you and your team should be actively employing.

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Supply Chain Efficiency Metrics Operations Manager Must Benchmark

The origin of the term "benchmarking" comes from surveying practices. It refers to a mark made on a stone wall that helped surveyors reposition measurement equipment in the same place from visit to visit. When applied to supply chain metrics, proper benchmark measurements help fulfillment center professionals gauge their growth or the scope of a problem and precisely determine the efforts and resources required for problem-solving applications. In a busy company, however, the process of determining and adhering to benchmark standards can be tricky as they require true-to-life and in-the-moment glances at a stream of industry that doesn't always have the luxury of pausing. Where, then, should a fulfillment center team start?

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Supply Chain Efficiency vs. Responsiveness - Getting Better Results

Efficiency is a perennial business buzzword. After all, it describes the very best of business practices across the board. Efficient production means making products without wasting materials, natural resources or man hours. Efficient facility management means running your business while reducing your energy costs and minimizing its carbon footprint. Efficient advertising means targeted ad campaigns that make the very most of your marketing dollars.

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